Monday, March 2, 2015

Der Zauberberg des Glucklichseins?

Moin moin!

And so another transfer begins in Bremerhaven and also another chapter of the mission closes. It’s good in one way because that means that spring is coming and with that more happy faces on missionaries and the general populace of Germany. The brighter the season does indeed equal brighter the hopes of success and in fact more opportunities to find people, because more people will end up out on the streets which happen to be where we are for most of the day. Also the new changes in the district seem to be a good thing so far as I am concerned. New beginnings aren't always a bad thing as long as you can get going with a few good steps in the right direction.

Recently it’s been pretty nice because my companion and I have been getting into some nice situations to share the gospel without it being to awkward or unnatural which is always nice because you can really tell how surprised people are when they are stopped on the street for anything unless it is for directions. Let alone when we try to talk to them about a book and eternal families. So recently one of the members in the branch and one of our investigators has been inviting us to eat food and they will have their friends over as well. It is a lot easier to talk about the gospel when someone actually asks you why you are here in Germany and for what purpose. I also have to bring up that English really is a magical language when I am sitting in a room with people from France, Germany, Spain, India, and naturally America. And everyone is speaking to each other in English in order to be able to communicate with one another. It makes me glad that English is my mother language. Haha! It truly is a different environment in Europe when it comes to circles of friends.

Other cool things that happened this week was when one of our investigators told us the night before during a lesson that he wouldn't be able to make it to church because he got called in to work on Sunday morning. But then the next day he still showed up to church and told us that he missed work because he felt like he needed to be there. That was a good moment. He has really been showing that he has been preparing himself for baptism and actually even more than that, he is even excited to go into the temple someday and partake of all of the many other blessings the Lord has to offer after someone is baptized because truly that is only the beginning. Also another one of our investigators that is on baptismal date has been doing fairly well, too. I mean he has a very interesting life although despite being the same age as me and being a Goth and comes to church after working as a security guy at a bar all night. He is making a lot of progress and it is cool to see him take on the commitments we give him. Although oh goodness I do have to say that yesterday we went to his apartment to help him clean his apartment out and get rid of anything related to cigarettes to help him stop smoking....I am now so very glad that my parents and other family members raised me in a clean environment and encouraged me to take care of things because I could absolutely not stand to live in an apartment that was as dirty as this one. We ended up being there for hours helping him clean it out, and it became so much cleaner afterwards but nonetheless still had a dirty feeling to it.

I don't know it was a good week and a good start to a new transfer hopefully everything continues to go well and really get things going before I leave this area, probably after this transfer or at least that is what President has been hinting at. I hope my faith and skills continue to grow as a disciple of Christ, it is something I have been recently studying because I cannot tell so much of a difference anymore in my own progression. Elder David A. Bednar once taught that, “Typically, we treat the topics of testimony and conversion separately and independently. However, we gain precious perspective and greater spiritual conviction as we consider these two important subjects together." Indeed we need both, the why and the how. We need a stronger testimony and conversion. We need knowledge and skills. We need to be based in doctrines and principles and abilities always trying to find the balance. Elder Bednar once said, “It concerns me as I see young people in our Church who know all the correct things they should do and do not have a clue as to why. … Do we understand why? If we do not understand the why, then the power available to us through the Doctrine of Christ will not be evident in our lives.” Hence why we study in the scriptures. As we understand the why more and more to let it sink in our heart, we need to do it, therefore we need to know the how. Elder Bednar taught, “As disciples of the Savior, we are not merely striving to know more; rather, we need to consistently do more of what we know is right and become better.” At the request of President Spencer W. Kimball, the words of “I am a Child of God” were changed from “Teach me all that I must know” to “Teach me all that I must do”. It is not enough only to know and to understand and to believe in it – we must apply it as soon as possible. When we have shown that we have the desire, have sought knowledge and faith, and have sought to purify ourselves, acquiring the appropriate skills can make all the difference.  Sometimes I am not sure what to do but Joseph Smith said the same in his history, JSH 1:12 “How to act I did not know”. But then he was told how to act and he acted upon! And what a marvelous outcome it was.

I hope that a little bit of what I learn while on my mission can be of possible help. Anyways I hope you all are doing well as always and you are not forgotten in my thoughts or in my prayers.


Elder Foster

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